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Samuel Levi Jones: Conscious Intuition

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Key takeaways

1. The solo presentation by Samuel Levi Jones, critiques authoritative systems through transformed materials like pulped encyclopedias and textbooks

2. The exhibition showcases Jones's early series along with new works which have examined power and knowledge through sculptures and installations


May 11 - Jun 17, 2023


Galerie Lelong & Co.

Galerie Lelong & Co.

New York


Galerie Lelong & Co., New York presents Conscious Intuition, a solo exhibition by Samuel Levi Jones that highlights the artist’s practice of abstraction as a means of transformation. Featuring works composed of pulped encyclopedias, law and medical textbooks, and US flags, the exhibition critiques authoritative systems. As the artist explains, this deconstruction and reinterpretation is driven by “a desire to create a space where information, that encompasses all, coexists, without fear, so that the pendulum stops its violent swing from one extreme perspective and back again.”

48 Portraits (Underexposed) (2012), an important early work and Jones’s first foray into the use of pulp, is on view, marking the first time the work is shown in its entirety on the East Coast. Inspired by Gerhard Richter’s 1972 work by the same name, and its notable exclusion of women and people of color, Jones printed on pulped encyclopedia paper portraits of prominent African American figures across disciplines—24 women and 24 men—who, despite their achievements, were not included in the 1972 Encyclopedia Britannica. The images are underexposed, inviting viewers to look more closely at these individuals, their accomplishments, and the authoritative volumes that ignored them.

This foundational work is be complemented by a selection of new works that see Jones developing his practice of transformation through abstraction across forms and mediums. Trojan Horse (2023), a sculpture composed of pulped encyclopedia pages and coated in pulped law book covers, is displayed resting atop its shipping crate. The sculpture appears ready to be returned to sender and prompts an inquiry into how ideas and information are circulated. Named for the famed symbol of false victory, the stone-like form on its imposing plinth recalls the equestrian statue genre, creating a parallel to the dialogue surrounding public monuments. New paintings made from pulped book covers are obscured to varying degrees, while stars and stripes peek through in Conscious Intuition (2022-2023), a triptych made of pulped US flags. The inclusion of these recognizable elements serves as a reminder that society cannot move forward equitably without acknowledging its flaws.

Jones’s continued innovation in the use of pulped materials is exemplified by his first major sculptural installation, The Library of Alexandria (2023), which was conceived during a recent residency at Dieu Donné and is presented for the first time. The work is composed of vintage bookshelves in-situ sparsely populated by sculptures cast in the shape of encyclopedias. These volumes are rendered illegible, a reminder of the histories excluded from the educational canon.